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Automation family comes together under one roof

01 March, 2006

Automation family comes together under one roof

Five years after Robert Bosch bought the Rexroth business from Mannesman, Bosch Rexroth has unveiled an integrated family of automation products, ranging from motors and drives, to controllers and supervisory software, all linked using open technologies.

Mike Lomax, Rexroth`s machine tools sales manager for the UK, admits that when the Bosch Automation and Indramat brands were first brought together "it was a nightmare to manage", with multiple development teams producing different products for different industries.

It has taken until now to develop a coherent, hierarchical family of products (shown above), which Rexroth has brought together under the Automation House banner. Open technologies, such as IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen`s motion control function blocks, are used throughout.

The "bedrock" of the family, according to Lomax, are the IndraDrive and IndraDyn drives and motors. He claims that the motors range — which includes synchronous linear motors, synchronous and asynchronous servo motors, torque motors that deliver up to 13.7kN, and high-speed machines capable of 30,000 rpm — is now wider than those of Siemens or GE Fanuc.

IndraDrive provides a single platform for servo drives and frequency converters, scalable from 1--120kW. The drives offer more than 100 technology functions, as well integrated safety functions for "safe standstill" and "safe motion", in accordance with EN 954-1, Category 3. Lomax points out that most other drives suppliers require external devices to provide similar functions.

The drives portfolio also includes a compact range called Ecodrive, and a range of standard frequency converters called IndraDrive Fc, spanning ratings from 0.25--7.5kW.

Above the drives and motors comes the IndraControl family of controls and HMIs. This includes dedicated controllers based on Windows CE, industrial PCs, visualisation software, and PC-based operator terminals that combine visualisation with PLC control.

Then there is a new PLC platform called IndraLogic, available in controller-based or PC-based formats, with cycle times down to 30µs.

For motion controls, there is a similar choice, as well as a drive-based version (IndraMotion MLD) with a 100µs cycle time. The controller-based IndraMotion L40 can process 32 tasks in parallel and deliver a 70µs cycle time. There is also a dedicated version (IndraMotion MTX) for CNC applications.

At the top of the new hierarchy is Rexroth`s IndraWorks software, which provides an engineering framework for roles such as project planning, configuration, parameter set-up, programming, operation, visualisation and diagnosis.

In addition to these ranges, most of which have been developed in-house, Rexroth has recently acquired the precision motion control range developed by the Dutch company, Nyquist. This will give it access to medical and semiconductor applications requiring nanometre accuracies.

Other products, including integrated motor-drives and controls using Sercos III communications, are in the pipeline. Together, these integrated technologies will put Rexroth "in a different league", declares Brian Hedges, head of the company`s automation business in the UK.

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